Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day in the Life Post 4 #DITL: What I do when I'm Angry...

This is the fourth post in the Day in the Life of a Teacher #DITL series that I am taking part in.  I received an email earlier in the week to comment on this graph:
I was not feeling this valley for November.  I was actually feeling pretty good, like I could breathe again.  I just wrapped up coaching my tenth season of cross country with our team banquet on Monday night and freed up some of my time.  I love the team, the runners, everything about it, but it is a big time commitment and a lot of effort and it is nice when the season is over.  The boys even gave me this cool shirt:

Tuesday was great.  I had four rock star girls stay after school to work on an Algebra 2 assignment sheet with some tough questions on it.  I did not have the answer key done, so we were working together.  They are so creative and bright.  They enjoy it and persevere.  It is refreshing to work with them.

Then, this morning came.  I woke up and something happened school related, but I am going to be vague about it, sorry. 

Disclaimer: The rest of this post is said with sarcasm, tongue-and-check, and some seriousness, yet still vague.

We had a half day before Thanksgiving.  I had 3 classes out of 5 and in two we played Quizizz and in Algebra 2 we did a Who Do It? - A Radical Murder Mystery practicing with radical equations.  It was a great short day with the students.

Meanwhile, I was trying to deal with aforementioned problem.  It is nothing I will be able to fix now.  I will just have to make do and find a way to fix it in the future.  It just made me really, really angry.  So, this is about how I reacted.

I really wanted to come home and curl up on the couch with a book, but then I realized I have 17 people coming for Thanksgiving so I got productive.

I put a last coat of polyurethane on my new wooden pi lazy susan for in the middle of my kitchen table.  (It has 1200 digits on it and is about 18 inches in diameter)  I am going to have all my family members sign the back of it at Thanksgiving tomorrow as a memory of 2016.  It will be our first without Grampa, who passed away in September.

I got to cleaning like a mad woman!  I dusted like crazy, vacuumed, picked up stuff everywhere. 

Then, it was time to start the food.  I turned on some Christmas music to try to get out of my own head.

I took a butcher knife and worked at cutting the squash.  When it was done, I got my anger out by mashing it.

I took the chef's knife and chopped (really just cubed) the potatoes to soak in water and be made into mashed potatoes tomorrow.

I made a chocolate pie.  I cut apples and made a mile high chocolate pie that kind of looks like a turkey itself.  It is a dark picture because it is tucked away in the corner, hoping none of my animals finds it. 

I baked some chocolate chip cookies and had a warm one before I went for a run.  After 5 hours of cleaning and standing in the kitchen, I needed to get a run in before it was dark.  Just a short one, but I needed some fresh air and still to clear my head.

Home again and time to change - time to "wash that gray right out of my hair".  And, as I sit here with the dye on, I am blogging.  Another form of processing it.

And, I do feel better.  It does help that I got a second piece of mail in a week today.  It was a nice card from a community friend about my father in law and remembering him.  I love getting mail.  I love warm chocolate chip cookies.  I love having my family over tomorrow and eating and playing games.  And, I have moved on.

#DITL Reflection Questions and Answers:
1.)  What is a teacher decision you are proud of today?  What is one you are worried wasn't ideal?
I was happy I didn't give the kids quizzes this week.  I usually like to wrap things up before breaks but it fell nicely in that we could just play practice review games.  The kids were totally engaged and having fun for the 35 minute classes today.  A teacher decision that wasn't ideal - perhaps this post?

2.)  Everyone's lives are full of ups and downs.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?
It is funny how entwined my feelings/emotions/moods are dictated by what happens at school.  Yesterday, feeling super, bam, today, not.  I will get passed it though.  I am looking forward to presenting in CT on Dec 5th and seeing Jen Silverman again.  I am presenting on ways to make review fun from low tech to tech.  I am also excited to share the news of next summer's mission trip with the parents and youth at a Dec 14th when we have an informational night.  (I do need to get ready for that.)
3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.  
I loved extra help with the girls mentioned above.  They are accelerated students.  The assignment sheet isn't due until Wednesday, Nov 30th and they are working hard on it. 
It's like a party with them, and doing math at the same time.

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.  
What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?
My goal is to have the kids up and working on #vnps (vertical non-permanent surfaces) and I love it!  I love finding new problems to make them think together at the boards. I love just standing in the middle and watching them work and listening to their discussions.  Their work is getting neater and more organized all the time.  I had a student teacher come to class first block on Monday.  She got to see the kids use desmos to look at the transformations of radical graphs in a teacher activity I created and she got to see the kids work together at the board on 4 more in depth, trickier graphing problems.  

5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?
It was my birthday month and my sister's so there was a lot of fun.  I went out with a high school friend on my birthday to dinner and to catch up.  Two days later, I went to dinner with another friend for my birthday.  Two days later it was my sister's 40th birthday and all my siblings and and nieces and nephews went out to lunch and bowling.  It was so fun.  Then, last week, I went with the first friend out again to see the movie The Edge of 17 which is all about high school awkwardness.  I highly recommend it.  And, tomorrow, all about hanging out with family.

Thanks for reading. And, now I am off to read a book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day in the Life: Post 3: #DITL - My Birthday!

What do teacher's do on their birthdays?  Blog?

When asked which day to post my Day in the Life post, I picked the 8th day because if you made it here, you should know 8 is my lucky number but it is also my favorite number and it is also my birthday.  So, I get to document my birthday.  It also happens to be a Professional Development Day due to voting.

I like my birthday.  I talk about it.  I plan things.  I don't wait around hoping for people to tell me Happy Birthday.  I tell them.  I don't shout it from the rooftops, but if I want to be happy on my birthday, I plan it.

It started off by making sure I graded two sets of quizzes from yesterday, yesterday so I didn't have to grade on my birthday. :)

I decided not to set my alarm for my usual 5:40 am because we don't have to be in until 7:20 and with no kids, I could walk in the door at that time.  But, I am a morning person and my eyes pinged open at 5:40.  I did my usual phone routine and was so happy to see a Facebook post from my Dad.  My parents live in Florida, I am in Massachusetts. My Dad has a tradition of always picking a song and posting it for friends and families' birthdays.  It made my day.  He picked Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl".  If you don't know it, go, now!  iframe width="480" height="270" src="" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen="">
I have four awesome boys, but no girls, but I am always his little girl and I work to make him proud every day.  He always has a tradition of calling people at 6 am on their birthdays, so I took that call and then jumped in the shower. 

We don't have enough lunch time to go out and grab something, so I still made my salad, but I didn't have to make my 2 sons sandwiches because they are off.

My mother in law gave me my present last night.  She knit me a beautiful scarf.  It is a light pink.  I picked my outfit out around it so I could wear it today.

Here I am, ready to head out for the day at 6:30 for my 1 mile commute to school:

 I entered school through the front door to the front office to check my mailbox so I could pick up a quiz that one of my inside school suspension kids took yesterday (so I will grade 1 quiz today) and the vice principal stopped me to thank me for doing a little presentation yesterday about Adobe Spark and to say he liked it.  :)

  Into my room, to finally have a few quiet minutes to get it back in order.  Move the desks back from rows, clean the board, organize what I need to do for the day.

My big plans:
Work until 2
Vote at 2
Run after that then shower
Dinner with a high school friend at 6 pm

I have another great problem on an Algebra 2 assignment sheet that has me stumped.  I don't remember where I got it from.  I am going to print it out and ask some colleagues to try it:

10.)  B and D are midpoints of  segments ACand EC in triangleACE. Segment BD = 7.  The perimeter of triangle BDE is 20.  Find the perimeter of ABDE.

Head to the bathroom, run into my senior son's teacher who tells me he is failing the class because he isn't doing the work, make a note to call him later to get him working.

My colleague friend ran the Disney half marathon on Sunday, so she stopped in at 7:20, chatted until breakfast until 7:45 am.

Went to the cafeteria for an amazing hot breakfast as we looked at the board for our school's first #edcamp style PD day.

It is 8:30 and I am starting at "Best Practices for Supported Classes".  #HHSedcamp  I will tweet a little bit throughout.

Special ed teacher concerns - how can we support the teachers when we have so many different learning platforms - places for the kids to have to go to.
Maybe make a toolbox for teachers to go to and grab - a graphic organizer, exemplars.
Students could do a voice memo and send it instead of writing an explanation.
Lots of great conversation on how to help kids on IEPs. 

9:10 heading to the library for 10th grade PLCs- horizontal alignment.  Big concern - tests and quizzes falling on the same day from different classes.  Thinking about the amount of homework assigned when.

9:45 am break time, back to my room for a breather to decide what my next Alg 1 unit looks like and take a bathroom break.  Give my computer a few minutes of juice. Text son to do the above homework.  Decide where to go next.  I might go to Breakout.  I have done one before and love it and want to make another this year.  I wonder if it will be doing a breakout or just discussing it.  I might want to play.

10:00 am Yep, there is a breakout box. Time to play.  I am very competitive.  We better breakout.  Hoping this inspires me to create a new one for Alg 1 this year.  I made an elaborate one for Alg 2.  We only had 30 minutes and we broke out in 18 minutes!  Yeah us!  We did the Time Warp one about communication.  Found out the middle school just got a great and bought a bunch of boxes.  I already bought my own.  It is really fun.  Now to find time to make an algebra 1 one.

10:40 am Going to the one on Twitter.  Let's see if I can help get anyone started.  It is fun to sell something you really love!

11:15 am Lunch time.  It was a fun morning to go to what we wanted to go to and to get to chat with colleagues I don't normally get time to sit with.

12:00 pm Math Department meeting: Looking at the curriculum and determining what is missing or does it need to be moved? Changes don't look to bad.  I am already doing it all in accelerated anyways, phew.

1:15 pm back to planning Algebra 1 new unit on Systems. 

1:45 pm ALICE drill practice.  They came over the loud speaker to give us a scenario to think about how we would react.  Will have a drill with the students this year.

Overall, it was a nice PD day.  I feel like we are all on our separate hamster wheel, going round and round and today we got to stop, take a breath and just catch up.  We had some great conversations and made important connections.  

2:00 pm, leave the high school and drive right next door to the middle school to vote.  No lines, no waiting, walk right in and vote.  Easy, peasy.

2:15 pm, home to my two sons.  Check in with them to see what they did on their day off.  They worked at a friend's house putting stuff into a dumpster and got paid.  Pretty productive.  Now, Kyle is heading off to play some golf because it is just gorgeous out.

2:20 pm, head out for a run:
Temperature is a bit different from my scarf weather this morning.  It is short-sleeved running weather because it is sunny and 61 degrees.  I don't usually share my speed, but it was a great run and my shadow got super long:

3 pm - catch a bit of Ellen's monologue an jump in the shower.  Blog.
3:30 pm - time to read.  I started the book "The Storified Life of A.J. Fikry" on a friend's recommendation last night.  I was super tired, so I didn't last long.  But, now I am going to go sit outside and read!  What a treat! 

It was so gorgeous out for Nov 8th in MA.  What a wonderful luxury to just sit and read.  I read until 5:30.  Then, it was time to head to dinner with my friend.  She brought me a balloon and a card.  I had a yummy seafood risotto di mare and we had a melty chocolate dessert with ice cream.  I am so full.  Dinner was 6 - 8. is time to read.  This book is soooooo good.  I highly recommend it.  It is short but I am reading it so slow because I don't want it to end.

A heavenly day (and I managed to avoid all politics).


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just what I needed this morning

I am feeling so overwhelmed this school year and it isn't a good feeling.  It is leading to other feelings I don't like.  I decided to google "prayer for peace" and this came up from  .  

I will be visiting them each morning now.

Pray this prayer today:
Father, I’ve lived without margin in my life for so long I can hardly remember what it’s like to not feel fatigue or pressure all the time. I think fatigue is the normal way I’m supposed to live and feel, but it’s not. I’m tired of being rushed and late and exhausted all the time. I’ve got too many irons in the fire, and I need your help to get out of the mess I’ve gotten myself into. Help me to recognize and accept my limitations. Help me to put some space in my schedule. I need breathing room and margin in my life. Jesus Christ, I know I can’t do it all, and I need your wisdom in deciding what matters most and what I should do. I don’t want to waste my life. Please give me the courage to say ‘no’ to the wrong things and ‘yes’ to the right things. Most of all, help me to trust you. Forgive me for thinking and acting as if everything depends on me. It doesn’t. It all depends on you! I want to have greater faith in you and less reliance on myself. I want less stress and more margin in my life. In your name I pray. Amen.